Paris Saint-Germain ended Lyon’s long unbeaten run as the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-finalists completed their fixtures for 2016 while Wolfsburg have shown intent with the signing of Pernille Harder.
Fortuna Hjørring (DEN) v Manchester City (ENG)
Rosengård (SWE) v Barcelona (ESP)
Wolfsburg (GER) v Lyon (FRA, holders)
Bayern München (GER) v Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
FRANCE: Lyon, Paris
Paris and Lyon went into Saturday’s showdown in the capital having both won all their nine games this season, so something had to give, and Marie-Laure Delie’s goal with seven minutes left gave victory to Paris, still to concede a league goal this season under Patrice Lair, the former Lyon coach who took over in the summer.
The loss was Lyon’s first since their November 2014 UEFA Women’s Champions League reverse at home to Paris, and OL had been unbeaten in away games since March 2010. Before Saturday, Lyon had won all 13 of their competitive fixtures this season, scoring 79 goals, but now face a threat to their ten-year reign as French champions.
Delie said: “This victory is a great delight, especially since we have been preparing for this match since the beginning of the season. It’s all we thought about. Patrice told us about it every day. It was the game to win, and we did.”
— Verónica Boquete (@VeroBoquete) December 17, 2016
GERMANY: Bayern, Wolfsburg
Both Bayern and Wolfsburg are playing catch-up to two-time European champions Turbine Potsdam as the Frauen Bundesliga pauses until mid-February. Potsdam won 1-0 at Wolfsburg on 2 November and 2-1 at Bayern on 11 December. Reigning champions Bayern won 3-0 in Essen on Sunday but trail Potsdam by five points.
Wolfsburg, meanwhile, have won their three league games since losing to Potsdam but Sunday’s game at Jena was postponed. They are fourth, two points behind Bayern and level with Freiburg, though Wolfsburg have a game in hand. On Monday, Wolfsburg signed Denmark striker Pernille Harder from Swedish champions Linköping and last week Lara Dickenmann signed a new Wolves contract until summer 2019, though Ramona Bachmann has departed for Chelsea. They have also moved their last leg against Lyon to the men’s VfL Wolfsburg Arena.
Dethroned as champions last year by Athletic Club, Barcelona end the year a point adrift of Atlético Madrid after a 2-1 loss on 11 December in front of nearly 14,000 fans at Vicente Calderón. Barcelona, who had not lost on their league travels since April 2015, were previously unbeaten this season but are now also level with Levante in what is looking like a tight three-way title race.
The Danish winter break began on 19 November, when Fortuna lost 2-1 at home to Manchester City’s round of 16 victims, Brøndby. That meant previously unbeaten Fortuna ended the regular season three points behind Brøndby, a margin which will now be reduced to two as the top six move into the championship round beginning in the spring. Reigning champions Fortuna and Brøndby have won the last 15 titles between them and again look almost certain to share the two European places and battle for first spot.
CLOSE SEASON: Manchester City, Rosengård
Moving through the quarter-finals on their European debut and winning their first English league title without defeat, City could hardly have asked for a better 2016. They will not begin their FA Women’s Super League defence until September as England is returning to a winter season with a one-off competition this spring to tide the teams over.
City are yet to make any close-season signings, though have handed new contracts to Keira Walsh, Abbie McManus and Megan Campbell. However their rivals have already been busy with Chelsea, who will join City in Europe in 2017/18, adding Bachmann and Maren Mjelde among others, Arsenal welcoming back Kim Little and Liverpool taking on Casey Stoney.
Rosengård, who conceded the Swedish title to Linköping but finished second to ensure a UEFA Women’s Champions League place next season, have signed Swedish international midfielder Hanna Folkesson from Umeå. The 2017 Damallsvensken begins in mid-April.